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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

OSU opens its Onsite Wastewater Treatment Training Facility

STILLWATER, Okla. – No one thinks about the septic system until there is something wrong. Then, when there is a problem, there is little understanding of how the system actually operates.

With only about 20 percent of houses in the United States having septic systems, Oklahoma’s percentage of nearly 40 makes knowing how to install and maintain these systems critical. These numbers indicate that a considerable amount of wastewater produced in the state has to be treated by homeowners.

“Because many of components of the system are underground, people often are not aware of how they work and how they should be maintained,” said Sergio Abit, assistant professor in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. “Problems arise if these systems are improperly installed and/or if they are improperly maintained. In a state that has a lot of septic systems, it’s very important that installers and state regulators are well-trained and the homeowners are well informed.”

With that as a backdrop, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service provided the funding through a grant administered by the Oklahoma Water Resources Center to construct an Onsite Wastewater Treatment Training Facility. Located at the Botanic Garden at OSU in Stillwater, the facility visibly displays of the most popular systems.

“The facility is the first of its kind in Oklahoma,” Abit said. “Having above-ground mock-ups of various systems accords opportunities for trainees and the public to actually see these systems, gain some idea of how they work and hopefully realize the importance of having them properly maintained.”

The facility is free and open to the public to come learn about the systems. Requests for guided tours for small groups can be accommodated.

“Most areas in Oklahoma have small population densities that prohibit using community wastewater systems, and therefore families must rely on individual wastewater treatment systems,” said Garey Fox, OWRC director. “This facility will provide critical information to homeowners, developers and regulators about the proper installation, operation and maintenance of these systems. Dr. Abit’s project will have an immediate impact on human and environmental well-being across the state of Oklahoma.”

Infiltrator Water Technologies, Clearstream Wastewater Systems, Hausner’s Inc. and Aerobic Systems of Stillwater also supported this project.

A schedule for training and demonstration sessions is currently being finalized and will be posted at http://nonagriculturalsoils.okstate.edu/temp-news-events when complete.

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REPORTER/MEDIA CONTACT:
Sean Hubbard
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
157 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4490
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: sean.hubbard@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000